Today, I bring a fresh perspective to our conversation—a narrative about a brand's life cycle and how it weaves through the fabric of generations. I created this presentation for Park Street University at Bar Convent Berlin.
During my career in the industry, I've witnessed the evolution of brands across borders and generations. Take note: what seems like an overnight success is often a brand that has been quietly climbing for two decades. Aperol, Jameson, Hendrick's Gin – these names didn't always dominate bar menus. Remember when a Negroni was a rarity? I do. I'd have to guide bartenders through the mix.
The life journey of a brand is interwoven with generational shifts. Every 20 years or so, new consumers emerge, market conditions fluctuate, and internal teams within companies turn over. This churn can lead to lost knowledge and identity crises for brands as new managers aim to leave their mark – too often through superficial changes like packaging or messaging.
Yet, brands must resist the urge to chase trends at the expense of their essence. New legal drinking-age consumers are constantly entering the market; they might be bartenders or just enthusiasts. But if a brand starts altering its core to cater to fleeting fads, it risks alienating loyal patrons and potential new fans.
Brands must maintain consistency while allowing for natural evolution over time. Drastic deviations from what made a brand resonate initially can result in a loss of identity and consumer trust. Instead of chasing every new generation with gimmicks, brands should focus on their foundational elements – those aspects that have stood the test of time. It's about striking that delicate balance between staying relevant and remaining true to one's roots.
In summary, brands should avoid the temptation to overhaul their identity in pursuit of short-term trends. By focusing on authenticity and consistency, they can navigate generational changes without losing sight of what made them unique in the first place.